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Back 30 years to a bad time

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by Lladro, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Lladro

    Lladro Registered User

    May 1, 2019
    Before I met my wife, 30 years ago, she had survived a horrendous relationship, during which time she was mentally and physically abused. She has always been mentally scarred by this former period, but we have had many years of love together now and we have been as close as two people probably could be. I even took her to his funeral a few years ago and thought that would literally lay the ghosts to rest.
    - Until the Alzheimers diagnosis two and a half years ago that is when our life was turned upside down.
    My wife now "flips" between the present and her past life. I believe she thinks that I am the previous husband at times and this has led to her being hostile towards me. This has been truly awful and I have posted a previous thread here about it. At other times, she will tell me how bad her husband is and also tell our friends, but here's the real rub, she will call him by my name. I know I shouldn't take it personally, but that is easy to advise, far from easy to practice. Does anyone have experience of something similar?
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Oh how terrible. It is bad enough when they confuse you with a parent. but to confuse you with a previous abusive spouse is unimaginably awful for both you and her.

    Im afraid that I have no experience of this, but could not read and run.
  3. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    This is not quite the same, but when my mum had her first series of 'silent' strokes which led to her Vascular Dementia diagnosis, she had several months of being literally 'manic' at times. It was a horrible time, so distressing to see her that way and so, so hard to deal with. Anyway … she went through a period of believing some people were coming to rape her, that women were being taken to the forest and raped, that people were listening outside the window. I knew it came from her early years of growing up in Eastern Europe during the war. A very good mental health fellow at one of the hospitals told me that unfortunately, and especially with the elderly, when there is dementia present, a very traumatic experience often comes to the fore. And this is certainly what happened with my mum. When she was in hospital for a few weeks with them trying various meds to 'calm' her, she believed she was in some kind of prison/concentration camp, though what she believed was happening there was a muddle of reality.

    Eventually, after some months, all of this eased and then went away (and we had other things that replaced it of course). Phases often (though sadly it seems not always) do pass and as her condition progressed, I always tried to hold onto that, that with the next stroke, or next stage, things would take a turn. Not nice, but certainly it gave me hope that whatever the current fixation was, it would probably go away eventually and be replaced with other challenges.

    It's a very difficult challenge. I wish you well.
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    What dreadful experiences @Lladro.

    During sundowning my husband used to tell me he had to return home to his real wife and his real family but nothing as bad as yours.

    I hope these episodes are just during periods of sundowning and the rest of the time your wife knows who you really are. However hurtful, if sundowning is to blame you will have some periods of `normality` when your wife knows you for who you are
  5. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    Sending (((((((((((( Hugs))))))))))))))
    Awful for you to experience this, as a loving partner it must tear you apart.
    Knowing it’s the dementia & not you at times is of no help. The hurt & emotions are inconceivable, but please “vent “ on here.
    We are here to support each other as best we can.
  6. Lladro

    Lladro Registered User

    May 1, 2019
    Thank you for the hugs - always welcome and I appreciate you taking the time to reply
  7. Lladro

    Lladro Registered User

    May 1, 2019
    Hi, thank you so much for your reply. It does help in some way, as perhaps there is hope that this will go away and probably be replaced with something else - nothing else I can imagine can be as bad. I too have been told by a professional that past trauma can come to the fore during dementia. Best wishes
  8. Lladro

    Lladro Registered User

    May 1, 2019
    Hi, thank you for your reply. I have experience of the sundowning and this behaviour certainly is much more prevalent late afternoon / early evening. The sundowning usually takes the form of wanting to go home and is only at its worst when the hostility arises though "flipping" back to a previous time in her memory. It is just good to talk (type) - thank you. We have just had two awful days followed by one great day (today) - So I am counting Rainbows, not Thunderstorms.
    Best wishes to everyone on here who has been kind enough to reply. Onwards...

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